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Estimating And Pre Deals Quantity Surveying Engineering Essay

The most significant level of any task is Estimating and Pre-Contracts Volume Surveying. Care should be taken at this stage, to produce a more correct and sensible cost of the job so that the client is in knowledge of the financial need with no major surprises, for successful completion of task within the budget. Building jobs are always out of budget and postponed completion date. The two main reasons are either a wrong analysis of the cost and length of time for the completion of the project or the client is being deliberately presented with a lower budget and a tight schedule for conclusion of job. However the most frequent reason is the combination of the price and time estimates and the latter being employed by most consultants / architects to encourage the customers to go ahead with the project. The reduced budget and the limited time schedule may also be way away from the genuine, which is the primary reason for the collapse of the client.

One of the bitter experience is with the Dubai Government Roads and Transfer Authority being given a Cost Estimate around 4. 25 billion us dollars (15. 5 billion dirhams) for the Dubai Metro Rail Job, which proceeded to go over budget and crossed time limit while crossing 7. 67 billion us dollars (28 billion dirhams) expenditure with still area of the network channels being incomplete. As per RTA there were four reasons of the increase, first the job was lengthened by 4. 5 kilometres, subsequently adding a place with few more kilometres of the rail, finally adding two more stations on the Red Series and lastly the changing of the inside of the channels considerably and including footbridges.

Also to the actual fact that in my career of 10 years in Dubai, I've noticed only one project completed within the budget and within the allotted restricted time period. The job was performed with good management and proper allocation of resources to achieve the completion within a brief period of time. Nonetheless it is not good to place the blame on Pre-Contracts treatment deciding the major area of the fate of the development project.


The PCQS must send various documents based on the various stages in Pre-Contracts.

The various areas to be looked at in the Pre-Contracts Volume Surveying stage are as pursuing - 1) Selection of team. 2) Collection of historical data. 3) Identifying key personals specialised specifically field to co-ordinate. 4) Incorporating inputs from various departments heads. 5) Determining and implementing virtually an obvious quality check procedure. 6) Following the various steps according to the stage of the report submittal. 7) Team head to identify and distribute the work to the in charge employees. 8) Quality Management, especially through the end of the submission date. 9) Preparing a more practical cost estimation. 10) Back-checking by checking the Engineers Estimate and the reasonable tender opened up. 11) Client can make the specialist responsible by requesting to provide backups for the quantities and rates. 12) Including feedback and data provided from ongoing jobs by Post Deal Number Surveyor. 13) Preparing of BOQ for Staying Works of your contract after the termination of the primary Contractor. 14) Making the Advisor accountable for cost estimations provided to clients, to avoid huge deviation. 15) Variety Surveyors to be fast and accurate in dealing with Notice to Tenderers.

To learn good lessons and prevent future damage to the participants of the development industry, some circumstance studies are being provided.


The Pre-Contracts level requires a very good Amount Surveyor having an array of experience with skills to manage the calculations with the available software & most importantly the ancient data available in the organisation for deploying it as basics in Estimating.

The normal procedure in the pre-contracts estimating is preparing the estimate during the Preliminary Study, Initial Design, Last Design and Sensitive Design. For repetitive or similar projects, for which the organisation has good audio recent historical data, the difference between all the level estimates will be very less, provided there is no severe change in the range of the task. The Quantity Surveyor shall prepare and keep standard rates derived from historic data and keep as common. It is better that the person preparing the quotes, derives the typical rates himself, so that he is in knowledge of those items which are lumped into some unit rates or for those items whose cost to be independently calculated when possible, or perhaps allow some percentage in the contingencies or any other range item. As the level progresses the quantities and items becomes well identified and then only applying appropriate unit rates becomes a key factor.

But at every single stage the Quantity Surveyor using any assumption shall keep information for just about any future justification of all the estimates even before start of the project.

The various stages of Pre-Contracts record submittal with approximate time frame is brought up below:

Stage 1 - Primary study

One page estimate prepared by PCQS to be included by the Project Supervisor in is research report.

Stage 2 - Primary Design (After around a month from stage 1)

Volume 1 - Sensitive and Long term contract Conditions - Sample copy from prior project

Volume 2 - Requirements - Sample copy highly relevant to the project

Volume 3 - BOQ - Sample backup with item explanation and without quantities, relevant to the project

Volume 4 - Drawings - Relevant to the project, including standard drawings highly relevant to the project

Preliminary Design Cost Estimation - One webpage estimation of the project

Stage 3 - Last Design Report (After approximately a month from stage 2)

Volume 1 - Sensitive and Long term contract Conditions - With all details highly relevant to the project

Volume 2 - Specs - Only highly relevant to this project

Volume 3 - BOQ - Real items and quantities from drawings of this project

Volume 4 - Drawings - Relevant to the job only

Stage 4 - Last Design Cost Estimation (Within the 7th day from level 3)

Final Design Cost Estimate - Precise cost estimate with volumes from drawings and current market rates.

Stage 5 - Tender Design File (After approximately a month from stage 3)

Volume 1, 2, 3 & 4 - Sensitive and Written agreement Conditions - Same as in stage 3 with incorporation of corrections and changes.

Stage 6 - Notice to Tenderers (After the floating of Tender documents to the bidders and not after 10 times before Tender starting date)

It contains a report stating the changes in every or the Amounts and the new internet pages.

Stage 7 - Technical engineers Estimate (On your day of Tender opening date, in the end Bid documents are opened up and is posted to your client separately)

It consists of an in depth cost estimate with amounts from drawings and current market rates, after including all NTT's.

Stage 8 - Tender Analysis (Within the 14th day after level 7)

The PCQS must prepare an analysis report of the bid documents submitted and compare it with Technicians Estimate.

Stage 9 - Contract Documents (After level 8 and finalization of the successful bidder to honor the deal)

The PCQS has to put together all the documents of Volumes 1, 2, 3 & 4 posted by the bidder and check if all the NTT's are integrated and include if any missing. He must likewise incorporate any post tender correspondence and changes as decided. This doc is sent to the Contractor for him to check and signal. This signed document is then agreed upon by the Client and thus the Contract is made. One copy of this signed document would go to the Post Deals section, with that your responsibility of the PCQS is completed.

Below will be the various formats found in Pre-Contracts Documents:

The software required is very nominal such as MS Term and MS Excel for getting ready documents. And for calculating volumes MS Excel is most powerful that can be used along with Autocad, Microstation and Geopak.

The Preliminary Review and Primary Design BOQ, consists of test BOQ items with nil volumes as shown below:

Figure 1

The Last Design BOQ and Tender Design BOQ includes genuine work items with amounts calculated from drawings as shown below:

Figure 2

Preliminary Study and Initial Design Cost Estimation format is really as given below:

Figure 3

Final Design Estimate and Sensitive Design Estimate is a detailed estimate with work items, amounts and rates, as given below:

Figure 4

A sample page of the Tender Examination is shown below, which compares the rates and quantities quoted by three companies. In addition, it calculates the minimum amount, average and maximum rates of all contractors:

Figure 5

The index of the quantity 1 - Sensitive and Deal Conditions is shown below:

Figure 6

A test of the unit rate calculation sheet is shown below:

Figure 7


The study is fine tuned to Infrastructure tasks like Highways and Bridges and using FIDIC deal conditions and CESMM3 approach to measurement. Listed below are important areas to be looked at in Pre-Contracts level.

1) Collection of team with respect to the project and customer :

This is the work of the person in-charge of the QS team to select the particular QS's who will be able to deliver the mandatory project with reliability and with time. If the project is more specialised and unique then your key QS's shall have an improved engineering background and ground breaking skills to deal with issues which arises during the preparation of BOQ and estimate. However some portion of the work shall be similar to tedious work, which can be done by other QS's. Thus within the team tasks and responsibilities shall be divided according to calibre and capacity of doing the job. The most important aspect is of communication, i. e. each and every person of the team will be communicated of any changes and discuss new information received from other departments or client.

2) Assortment of historical data from similar kind of assignments :

The various phases of quotes are Preliminary Study, Preliminary Design, Last Design and Sensitive Design. The first two levels needs the estimation to be always a one page estimate, having almost all of the things clubbed together to create a single brand item like Roadwork, where the items included are prep of development, laying sub-base, road-base, best coat, asphalt platform course, tack overcoat, asphalt wearing course, street markings, trial trenches, any demolition works, etc. The cost per meter square of roadwork can be determined by adding the machine rates of all the above items, aside from trial trenches and demolition works for which a percentage of around 5% of the unit rates can be applied. The per product cost of bridges can be worked out by calculating the total cost of a concrete bridge from previous project and then dividing it by the program section of the bridge providing us the unit rate of bridge per square meter. Thus in the preliminary study and initial design level the major line items need to be identified and their most likely unit rate shall be derived in conditions of unit that can be determined easily from the available drawing. Since the regions of roads and bridges are clear at both of these stages, the volumes are described in area unit. All the rates used in these collection items, will be extracted from the recently opened tender of course, if required apply uplift for inflation on the quarterly basis.

3) Discovering key personals specialised specifically field to co-ordinate through the progress of Invoice of Quantities prep :

Depending on the type and dynamics of the project and the many departments engaged like Highway design section, structural design section, traffic analysis section, steel framework section, scenery section, intelligent transportation section, various service departments, the QS team leader must co-ordinate with individual section heads. The point of contact person will be the same throughout the task. Any meaning or information passed on by sub-ordinates to sub-ordinates of QS section will be communicated through the accountable section head. Regular meetings shall be organized between all the section mind, by the project manager so as to assure proper improvement and nullify any delay by any team being lagging behind which shall benefit the project delivery.

4) Incorporating inputs from various departments minds including on-site and off-site :

The QS team can refer to the historical data available with their company for usage in today's project. In addition to this, the PCQS also shall co-ordinate with the post-contract QS to get some responses from the ongoing assignments to be able to rectify those problems committed in previous documents and incorporate in their next distribution. This procedure is normally not followed almost as the two sections work as separate distinctive entity. But there shall be a much better communication between the pre and post-contract QS and it can be achieved quickly by the top of the QS section with very little effort, enhancing the overall quality of pre-contracts works.

5) Determining and implementing basically an obvious quality check process before submitting the file to your client :

A very important procedure of quality check will be included in the pre-contracts work, to provide quality documents for the customers. Any doc after planning and before sending it to the client shall undergo quality check by Senior QS or experienced QS in the section. This procedure shall eliminate slight mistakes definitely and also have a check on major what to avoid any blunder in volume or explanation of items. It is sure certainly the grade of the document will be increased even if this process is applied for atleast about 1 to 5 hours, with respect to the time available for submission. This process of checking can be produced effective by causing the person hint the report after his checking of the file.

This technique can be used if the internal audit plan cannot be followed scheduled to time constraints. However the normal internal audit methods available with Corporate are good enough for a quality product.

6) Following the various steps based on the level of the document submittal :

Various steps should be followed according to the level of the distribution, whether preliminary study, preliminary design, last design or sensitive design. During the preliminary study the pre-contracts QS must prepare only a one web page estimate based on the key layout plan for e. g. Assess the region of the road and bridges from the program and then multiply it with the area of the road and bridges from the program and then multiply it with the produced rates from past standard tasks. And consider percentages for services, landscaping works, street lighting works, contingencies, etc. to arrive at the full total job cost.

In the preliminary design level the PCQS must post a one site cost estimate and an in depth test BOQ with the volumes as nil. The BOQ items shall be standard items, from earlier projects relevant to the current projects. Even the sensitive and agreement conditions is provided same from the prior similar project.

In the final design stage, the quantity 1 - Sensitive and Deal Conditions, Volume level 3 - Charge of Quantities and a detailed cost estimate is published. This level is a more detailed stage and may be entirely not the same as the primary design, predicated on the changes being contained during this level. The PCQS must prepare quantity 1 incorporating the information of the project, duration of the task, any milestone, any level handover, the particular conditions of contract, penalties, liquidated damage, conditions for progress payment, performance bond guarantee form, sensitive bond form and the general conditions of agreement. The volumes shall be an in depth BOQ, with no assumed quantities and all the items and quantities will be produced from the available drawings. In addition to this there shall be a Expenses No. 1 for General Items, containing the items for Method Related charges and Time Related charges for the contractor to price, so that he gets the initially spent money early as mentioned in this Charge. But sometimes company uses this Bill to front load these things to get original profit before as he shall put all his earnings in the Expenses and price less income in the genuine work items.

The next submission is the Tender submission which is comparable to Final Design distribution, with the only difference that any changes in the drawings from Final Design to Tender Design must be incorporated in to the BOQ. Care needs to be used this document as it will be provided to the Tenderers for bidding and any blunder at this stage shall be borne by the client and in turn by the Consultant.

A real exemplory case of an extremely serious mistake took place by inserting the Quantity as 'One' in the BOQ for costly items, whereas in the drawings there have been huge numbers. The contractor being aware of this fact priced high for these specific items and later through the task execution, when your client got aware of this he stated the surplus amount from the expert as it was a 100 % pure oversight of the consultant, by putting that in the BOQ, however, not putting the precise quantity as per drawing. This may have been prevented by using a QC check before floating the record as Sensitive.

The cost estimate known as "Engineers Calculate" will be provided on the night out of the Sensitive Opening. In between the Tender submission and the Sensitive Opening, the specialist can issue lots of "Notice to Tenderers" to incorporate any changes in drawings or any sensitive documents. In this process, the PCQS can also rectify his mistakes which were not observed in the Tender Submission. The NTT is of standard form, consisting of serial statistics and the front page summarising the webpages to be replaced or added from any of the Tender documents.

7) Team innovator to identify anD distribute the work to the liable personNEL of various departments and within Variety Surveying team :

The team innovator of the PCQS must carefully allocate and disperse responsibility of planning the Volume 1 and different parts of Quantity 3 such as roadwork, bridges, landscape works, services, tunnel works, electromechanical works, etc. appropriately. Also he has to co-ordinate and become alert to instructions and details provided by different section minds for preparation of the BOQ. Any change in virtually any of the service or other section, shall be communicated through the section minds to the team leader and the PCQS doing that part of BOQ. The task administrator shall also be familiar with all these communications.

8) Quality Management, especially through the end of the submission time, when major design changes occurs :

As discussed previously there will be a particular quality management arrange for the PCQS works for an improved quality product to the clients. This can be achieved by doing a 1 to 5 hour QC check of all documents ready before mailing it to your client. Criteria of checking out each document is to be lay out and the document used for quality check will be stamped and signed duly by the product quality checker QS and the Team innovator to be able to be accountable for the document. This process shall atleast make 90% free of problems or blunder in virtually any of the documents. This specially becomes quite difficult when huge changes in design are done when the submission particular date is very near and even getting one to two 2 hours for checking is difficult. Nonetheless it is suggested to have a quality check even in this limited schedule, when chances of mistakes will be more.

9) Preparing a far more realistic cost estimate for Tender Beginning :

After the sensitive document submission, the price estimation known as "Engineers Estimate" is submitted to the client at the sensitive opening time. Care and attention has to be taken in setting up this estimate for the next reasons, a) there shall not be large variants from the ultimate design estimate, apart from the changes in design. b) the estimation will be reflecting the existing market rate, since it is derived from a previously exposed tender and therefore inflation rate should be applied. c) The estimation will be within the number of the offers submitted by the bidders at the sensitive starting time. d) Justification and hard copy proof will be retained for those items, for which rates are not available from past tenders and comes from basic as there might be major differences when compared with the bidders. Since these proofs might be asked to justify these rates at a later level if the estimate is way to avoid it of the number of the cheapest bidder. For the fact that one clients fix the utmost limit of variance of engineer's estimate as 15% if it goes beyond after that it the consultant is in charge of that deviation.

10) Back-checking by assessing the Engineers Estimation and the practical tender exposed, for future incorporation of any shortcomings :

After the opening of most tenders the offers of all the bidders shall be compared with the engineer's estimate. This is posted to your client which really is a part of tender analysis report. Nevertheless the consultant shall also check for items where the engineer's rates have large variance from all the bidders and stay away from this miscalculation in future estimations, to provide a more realistic estimate to the customers. Normally the bill amount for 'General Items' is recognized as a percentage of the cost of work items and ranges from 15% to 30% with respect to the school of the service provider and their overheads cost. But sometimes a few of the contractor's price these bill items less than 10% or higher than 30%, however we must consider the average percentage from most normal school contractor's charges.


Another way of attaining quality and accuracy in the BOQ and estimations, is by asking the consultants to provide back-up and calculation of each amount and rate. By examining this consumer can ensure the reality of the BOQ and the estimates.

12) Including responses and data provided from ongoing projects by Post Contract Variety Surveyor to the Pre-Contracts Variety Surveyor for future agreements in design stage :

One of the most crucial aspects of Variety Surveying is the co-ordination and exchange of information between your pre-contracts and the post-contracts variety surveyor. This is not done practically. However this can be done quickly by arranging monthly or bi-weekly meetings included in this by their in-charge personnel. This will provide the PCQS the info about the new rates, missing BOQ items, quantity variation, claims scheduled to BOQ, high rates for provisional items, high rates for mis-calculated BOQ amounts, to sophisticated BOQ items information, insufficient BOQ description creating ambiguity of the opportunity of work. The comments and recommendations of the conferences can be used to incorporate in all the future tender documents to obtain a processed product for your client. This is a means where the PCQS can evaluate the use of the documents prepared by them at site and measure the quantum of reduction, occurred scheduled to small or negligible blunder done during the pre-contracts period. This would also suggest the PCQS to include QC checks relevant to these blunders in their checklist of quality control.

13) Preparing of BOQ for Remaining Works of any contract following the termination of the Main Contractor, to prize the rest of the works to a fresh contractor :

This is an extremely rare case that the primary builder is terminated and the remaining works is granted to the new service provider. However, should this happen then the PCQS needs to be very cautious in getting ready the BOQ for the remaining works. The BOQ of the total amount works to be prepared by taking the difference between the tender quantity and the real work done amount at site. However, health care shall be taken up to put together some new items such as manholes and such other works which can be partly completed by the main contractor and staying has to be done by the new service provider. These item amounts shall be exact when possible to be measured at site and no assumptions shall be made, as though the volumes are less than actual, then your new contractor shall price it more, the excess of which will be paid by the primary contractor, it isn't good from an ethic perspective. Any item partly done and doubtful of volume shall not be contained in the BOQ. Also to avoid major loss to the key contractor, components of this type shall not be contained in the BOQ, since the new builder shall price it very high during tender level, which we cannot control his prices. However, if these items occur at site and if there is no BOQ item, then a much better manipulated new rate can be approved by the advisor, minimizing the loss to the primary contractor. Stuff like tests of pipes, duct proving etc. shall not be contained in the BOQ as the new builder shall definitely price it very high than the real incurred by them.

14) Making the Advisor accountable for cost estimates provided to clients, to avoid huge variation after the opening of the sensitive :

One important level of the PCQS is to supply the cost estimates to the client. Sometimes the expert might underestimate the price of the project to make it look cheaper, so that the client goes ahead with the task and the consultant is free from the responsibility of providing the most economical design for your client. This can be nullified by making the consultant responsible for the cost estimation and impose an excellent, if the price estimate varies more than +15% to -15% of the lowest bidder. Also the fees for the specialist design fees shall be based on the cheapest of most bidders including the consultant's cost estimation. In cases like this the client shall also take particular interest and ask justification for the rates being listed for the BOQ items by the advisor.

15) Volume Surveyors to be fast and accurate in dealing WITH Notice to Tenderers within A short period of time :

Notice to Tenderers offers a type of cover to the flaws or late design changes for the advisor and the client. Always they are issued within a short span of amount of time in hurry & most probably creating a risk of containing mistakes and problems being sent to the tenderers. Since the time is brief and lots of parts such as drawings, specs or BOQ needs to be re-issued there is chances of error. However this shall be prevented by having a rapid and extensive QC check. If it is not possible to do even this check, then your consultant shall ask from your client to provide an extension of your energy, for the tender opening. This would avoid and nullify any future major loss of money or ambiguity during the post-contracts period. Also this is good chance of the consultant to rectify any blunders done by any of their department during the pre-contracts stage in the sensitive documents. With this notice even the expert has to submit the answers to the concerns brought up by the bidders. Down the road during the creation of the contract document, each page and every answer of the query forms a fundamental element of the contract file in Amount 1 and other Quantities as relevant. Notice to Tenderers, before issuing to the client who subsequently issues it to the bidders, shall be authenticated by the sensible heads of office, who's related to the material of the Notices.

The PCQS responsibility is the prep of Amount 1 and Quantity 3 and cost estimates at any level. After the tender beginning, even the prep of the deal documents has to be done and thoroughly examined by the PCQS. A very systematic procedure shall be followed in planning of the agreement documents. Because, even if in the pre-contracts level a mistake of the advisor is rectified in the subsequent NTT and this webpage is not contained in the Agreement document, then your reason for NTT is lost and the agreement after signing needs to be executed with that mistake, giving climb to disputes and says. Initially the original Tender document needs to be taken and the other by one the succeeding Notices shall be applied by the PCQS. He should take responsibility for all your Volumes, because the other office personnel may not remember or not have any documentation to displace the pages as mentioned in the NTT. A important indicate be noted is that each and every page given in each NTT shall be a part of respective Volume level. Sometimes or more often there are specific discussions negotiation being performed after the Sensitive starting known as the Post Sensitive stage.

Each correspondence and documents submitted in this post tender level shall be a part of Quantity 1, as it shall be the deciding factor of the contract throughout a later area of the construction stage. Once the contract file is agreed upon by both parties, ie. Your client and the builder then the deal is formed. At this time of time the duty is transferred from Pre-Contracts Volume Surveyor to create Contracts Variety Surveyor.


Case Study 1 - The items for Drainage Manholes were contained in the bill, however the quantity take-off from the drawings had not been contained in the Sensitive BOQ. The builder knowing this reality listed it four times high, since the quantity in BOQ was 'product' and it didn't effect the overall tender price. Your client became aware of this proven fact that the actual Manhole amount is more and your client shall have to pay around 5. 48 million dollars (20 million dirhams) more. The client wrote a letter claiming this excess amount from consultant.

This mistake occurred at the pre-contracts level, anticipated to non-inclusion of the working of the Drainage costs number done by team member into the key BOQ excel data file.

Conclusion: Teamwork is important and each team member shall ensure that his part of work is roofed in the primary work.

Case review 2 - Because of insufficient time the region of concrete keeping wall was computed as duration multiplied by average elevation of 3. 5m. During the execution of the task, the actual variety appeared to be three times more than the quantity talked about in the BOQ. This unwanted amount was from the client's budget and he asked a justification from the advisor.

This mistake took place because the QS organizing the quantities didn't refer the street profile drawings in which, the starting and end point stating the levels of retaining wall were clearly described.

Conclusion: To check every single drawing while calculating quantities, discussing incomplete drawings shall definitely mislead and create mistake.

Case analysis 3 - Due to non-availability of time between Tender report issuing time and Tender Opening date as well as the pressure created from the project supervisor, major electro-mechanical items were overlooked from the Tender BOQ. Later on during engineering period, lot of variations cropped up and the consultant was accountable for this loss to the client, as the service provider would have charged these with a competitive rate during the tender stage when compared with today's new rate.

Conclusion: This problem happened due to the pressure created by task director to complete the work in short time. However this could have been prevented by extending the tender period and supplying sufficient the perfect time to issue a proper well developed NTT.

Case examine 4 - Your client asked to send all the four level documents of the pre-contracts phases urgently one at a time, giving verbal approval. Down the road when the client abandoned the task, they declined to pay and the price estimation was the central area of the issue. Ultimately the cost estimate was reduced to almost 25%, which developed the basis of the design fees.

Conclusion: Never check out the next level of design with no an official notice of endorsement of the look document submittal of each stage.


There might be considered a issue that the pre-contracts work is much easier than the post deals work, but it's the other way round. The pre-contracts volume surveyor has to have a huge experience both in records as well as in site construction activities. After having a better sensible site experience, he can apply his practical experience in preparing the various bill what to avoid confusion and become clear in what it offers and excludes. The in-charge of the PCQS shall have the ability to allocate the work to his team and co-ordinate with all internally and externally to make a quality document promptly for submission to the client.


BOQ - Monthly bill of Quantities

NTT - Notice to Tenderers

PCQS - Pre-Contracts Number Surveyor

QS - Variety Surveyor

RTA - Streets and Move Authority

Volume 1 - Tender and Contract Conditions

Volume 2 - Specifications

Volume 3 - Monthly bill of Quantities

Volume 4 -Drawings

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